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Slightly Foxed Issue 64
  • ISBN: 9781910898376
  • Pages: 96
  • Dimensions: 210 x 148mm
  • Illustrations: B/W
  • Publication date: 1 December 2019
  • Producer: Smith Settle
  • Cover Artist: Seren Bell, ‘Winter Cockerel’
  • ISSN: 1742-5794
  • Issue Subtitle: ‘Accepting an Invitation’
Made in Britain

Slightly Foxed Issue 64

The magazine for people who love books


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The independent-minded quarterly that combines good looks, good writing and a personal approach. Slightly Foxed introduces its readers to books that are no longer new and fashionable but have lasting appeal. Good-humoured, unpretentious and a bit eccentric, it’s more like a well-read friend than a literary magazine.

In this issue: Laurie Graham prepares for a Cradock-style Christmas • Charles Elliott picks up some 18th-century gossip • Daisy Hay accepts Joyce Grenfell’s invitation • D. J. Taylor finds romance in Ayrshire • Amanda Theunissen discovers there’s No Bed for BaconPatrick Welland rejoins the British Council • Maggie Fergusson discusses love and friendship with Rose Tremain • Oliver Pritchett tries not to repeat himself • Henry Jeffreys shares a cockpit with Roald Dahl • A. F. Harrold enters Joan Aiken’s parallel world, and much more besides . . .



Accepting an Invitation • DAISY HAY on Joyce Grenfell, Joyce Grenfell Requests the Pleasure

A Master of Invention • HENRY JEFFREYS on Roald Dahl, Going Solo

Thames Valley Blues • CHRIS SAUNDERS on Patrick Hamilton, The Slaves of Solitude

Playing it for Laughs • AMANDA THEUNISSEN on Caryl Brahms & S. J. Simon, Don’t, Mr Disraeli! & No Bed for Bacon

Ayrshire Romantic • D. J. TAYLOR on Gordon Williams, From Scenes Like These

The Fanny Factor • LAURIE GRAHAM on Fanny Cradock, Coping with Christmas

Anguish Revisited • POSY FALLOWFIELD on Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart

Love and Friendship • MAGGIE FERGUSSON interviews the novelist Rose Tremain

Have I Already Told You . . . ? • OLIVER PRITCHETT on James Sutherland (ed.), The Oxford Book of Literary Anecdotes

Airborne Division • MARTIN SORRELL on Joseph Kessel, The Crew

A Delight in Digression • DAVID SPILLER on Charles Lamb, Essays of Elia

Building Jerusalem • ALISON LIGHT on Ruth Adler, Beginning Again

Great Gossips • CHARLES ELLIOTT on T. H. White, The Age of Scandal & The Scandalmonger

All the World’s a Stage • HELEN RICHARDSON on Simon Callow, Being an Actor

Joan’s Books • A. F. HARROLD on the children’s books of Joan Aiken

Perilous Times • PATRICK WELLAND on Olivia Manning’s Levant trilogy

‘Slightly Foxed: or, the Widower of Bayswater’ • WILLIAM PLOMER


About Slightly Foxed

The independent-minded quarterly that combines good looks, good writing and a personal approach. Slightly Foxed introduces its readers to books that are no longer new and fashionable but have lasting appeal. Good-humoured, unpretentious and a bit eccentric, it’s more like a well-read friend than a literary magazine. Read more about Slightly Foxed.

‘Slightly Foxed is a very civilized way to appreciate books and writers. No shouting, no hype, just beautifully presented enthusiasms, most of which are irresistible.’ Michael Palin

‘A quarterly full of delights and articles about books new and old, published and out of print, beautifully illustrated and written by excellent authors.’ Random Jottings

‘The business of reading should please the hand and eye as well as the brain, and Slightly Foxed editions – books or quarterly – are elegant creations. Content follows form, offering new discoveries and old favourites to curious and discriminating readers. ’ Hilary Mantel

Slightly Foxed Issue 64: From the Editors

Was there ever a moment when a good book seemed more essential? And not just because Christmas and the annual search for presents has come round again. Comfort, instruction, amusement, escape, a new...

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Accepting an Invitation

Reading Joyce Grenfell Requests the Pleasure this summer, the memory of my first acquaintance with her has been strong. I’ve heard the precise tones and emphases of her own reading in every line...

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A Master of Invention

We lived in Dahl’s world, my brother and I more literally than most children since we grew up a couple of miles from Gypsy House, his home in Great Missenden. As we drove past it my parents would...

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Thames Valley Blues

Patrick Hamilton, now best known for his novel Hangover Square and the play Gaslight, was a troubled man who is often seen as the court poet of shabby alcoholics and wandering drunkards. He is,...

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Ayrshire Romantic

The great wave of Romanticism that swept over Scottish literature from the mid-Victorian era onwards was always going to have its answering cry. This tendency was particularly marked among the group...

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The Fanny Factor

It was some time in the mid-Sixties when things began to change in my mother’s kitchen. First we got a fridge. Farewell mesh-doored meat safe, farewell flecks of curdled milk floating in your tea....

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Anguish Revisited

At boarding school in the late Sixties we had as our English teacher a Miss J. H. B. Jones. Coaxing us self-absorbed teenagers through the A-level syllabus she was diffident, patient and unassuming,...

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Love and Friendship

One summer’s evening, at the age of 13 or 14, Rose Tremain had what she describes as ‘an epiphany’. She had been playing tennis with friends at school, but was alone, when she was overcome with...

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Have I Already Told You . . . ?

Obviously, the telling of anecdotes can become a dangerous addiction; there’s the risk of becoming like the chap who has memorized a thousand jokes and relentlessly reels them off in the saloon...

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Airborne Division

Of all Richard Wagner’s music dramas, the one I know best is Tristan und Isolde, as do a lot of people, I imagine. I first came to it as an undergraduate, courtesy of the LPs lent me by my tutorial...

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A Delight in Digression

In the north London suburb of Edmonton where I grew up, virtually the only feature of note is Charles Lamb’s cottage in Church Street, which is marked with a blue plaque. The essayist lived there...

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Building Jerusalem

I met the novelist Ruth Adler thirty years ago. She was then in her eighties, an elegant, quietly spoken but forthright woman. For a while she had been, as my husband put it, one of his many mothers....

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Great Gossips

T. H. White (1906–64) was clearly a strange fellow, which should be evident to anyone who has read his books. The best known, of course, is his Arthurian epic, The Once and Future King (progenitor...

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All the World's a Stage

When I was a child, people of a certain age who met my father often remarked, ‘You look just like Simon Callow.’ I had no idea who Simon Callow was, so my father bought me his autobiography,...

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Joan’s Books

Joan Aiken was the daughter of the American poet laureate Conrad Aiken and the Canadian writer Jessie MacDonald, and two of her siblings also wrote books, so writing clearly ran in the family. From...

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Perilous Times

In the summer of 1974, the author Olivia Manning reread the transcript of a BBC radio talk she had given eleven years earlier about her arrival in Cairo in 1941 with her husband, Reggie Smith....

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Slightly Foxed: or, the Widower of Bayswater

Decades ago wits, poets and dukes Circled like planets round Gloria Jukes, Bluestocking, tuft-hunter, grande amoureuse – Was ever a salon brilliant as hers?

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Playing it for Laughs

You read a book, laugh a lot, recommend it to your friends. Some laugh, others don’t. Why is a sense of humour so individual and at the same time so culturally specific? We are mostly moved to the...

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